Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent. Most victims and perpetrators know each other.
Immediate reactions to sexual abuse include shock, fear or disbelief. Long-term symptoms include anxiety, fear or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Understanding the emotions and normal responses that follow a disaster or other traumatic event can help you cope with your feelings, thoughts and behaviours – and can help you on the path to recovery.
Child abuse is any action by another person – adult or child – that causes significant harm to a child. It can be physical, sexual or emotional, but can just as often be about a lack of love, care and attention. We know that neglect, whatever form it takes, can be just as damaging to a child as physical abuse.
An abused child will often experience more than one type of abuse, as well as other difficulties in their lives. It often happens over a period of time, rather than being a one-off event. And it can increasingly happen online.
Here are just a few examples:
A child is sexually abused when they are forced or persuaded to take part in sexual activities. This doesn't have to be physical contact, and it can happen online.
Witnessing domestic abuse is child abuse, and teenagers can suffer domestic abuse in their relationships.
Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a child's basic needs. It's dangerous and children can suffer serious and long-term harm.
You should be able to feel comfortable in your place of work or learning.
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favours, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature in the workplace or learning environment.
Sexual harassment does not always have to be specifically about sexual behaviour or be directed at a specific person. For example, negative comments about women as a group may be a form of sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment interferes with your performance by threatening your job security or becoming an obstacle to effective work.
Although sexual harassment laws do not usually cover teasing or offhand comments, these behaviours can also be upsetting and have a negative emotional impact.